“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)
Every children’s minister hopes to see their students grow into fully mature followers of Christ. In children’s ministry, that means instilling knowledge and love of the Bible into student’s lives, introducing them to the doctrines of the faith, and providing a loving presence in their lives, hoping that this plants the seed for a lifelong membership in the Church. Another aspect of faith that we hope to introduce kids to is the importance of serving others. That can be more difficult, because it’s hard to do in a classroom. Nevertheless, there are some great ways to introduce kids to Christian service, and here are a few examples.
- Give kids a chance to serve during Sunday School. Whether it’s singing on stage, turning on or off lights, grabbing and handing out supplies or running power point, kids actually love to help you out. Take them up on it, and talk about how it shows their maturity.
- Adopt a World Vision or Compassion International child as a class. Doing this offers a lot of opportunities. Not only do kids get to affect a child’s life directly, but they get to experience the global nature of the Church. Your kids can also take part in writing letters and sending gifts, and I guarantee they will love getting letters and pictures back from around the world.
- Schedule a service day. This idea works great if you can incorporate the entire family. Simply pick a local place to serve, and invite your kids and their parents to serve with you. It’s a good idea to schedule some sort of a fun finale to an event like this (e.g. a pizza party or bowling).
- Model service from the front. Your students will want to see their leaders serving as well. Go out of your way to serve kids and other leaders. Have the kids thank their leaders for serving them. Make sure that kids get to watch their role models serve them and each other.
- Simply talk about it. Highlight kids and families who serve, teach about using spiritual gifts, and remind students that service is a core part of our faith. Children’s ministers have the opportunity to help kids construct a healthy faith, so serving others should be a regular theme.
There is so much room for creativity in this area, so please add to the discussion. Share ideas that have worked for you as you’ve tried to encourage kids to serve. Hopefully more of us will be inspired to model service to the kids that we minister to. God bless!